In a classic Six Day finale points shoot-out with the result not confirmed until the finish line, classy Home Boy Michael Mørkøv paired with the current Capo of the Six Day boards, Belgium’s Kenny De Ketele to land his seventh Copenhagen Six Day at midnight on Tuesday on the wide boards of the 250 metre Ballerup track.
Runners up were De Ketele’s usual henchman, the skinny-but-rapid Belgian Moreno De Pauw paired this time with Dutch greyhound Yoeri Havik, who finished on the same lap as the men in the legendary ‘Danish flag’ number seven jersey but were out-gunned in those OK Corral final 50 laps.
Third, in the black number nine jerseys, usually ridden by the second string Danish pairing were past winners here, Dane Marc Hester and German stalwart Leif Lampater.
We had them down for second spot but the Monday night 75 K handicap madison went disastrously wrong for them and they went into the last chase with a monstrous lap deficit.
In the final chase they were happy to nurse their slim points advantage over Poles Wojciech Pszczolarski – already a European Champion in the points race – and his partner Daniel Staniszewski; rapid and one to watch for the future.
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I’m getting rather fond of my cold showers, they save an age in the ‘getting round to feeling human’ stakes.
And the Boss has been producing cordon bleu omelettes for breakfast – lovely.
Michael Mørkøv’s former Six Day partner, Alex Rasmussen got up on the boards for the rolling presentation, filming proceedings all the while, of course.
We were ‘sans Nico’ again today, that chest infection still giving him grief.
Sunday is always a tad more relaxed and we were treated to a pursuit match on those daft “walker” bikes between teams seven and nine.
Michael and Kenny won – naturally.
Dernys, time trial, longest lap and then the balustrade…
With Meco’s disco version of, ‘The Theme From Star Wars‘ at max volume, an ‘Imperial Stormtrooper’ lead the string round the top of the track – good fun.
Strange, but we couldn’t see Daniel Holloway anywhere in the string behind the trooper…
I can’t remember who won the chase [it was Lampater/Hester from De Vylder/Ghys – Ed.] but the tunes were great; Alcazar, ‘Crying At The Discotheque,’ Sylvester’s ‘Mighty Real‘ re-mix and my new ‘EuroCheese’ fave, Mystic’s ‘Ritmo de la Noche‘ – bellissimma!
Unlike the speaker in Berlin they realise here that you don’t have to talk all the time’ just let the music accompany the rolling thunder of rock-hard tubulars.
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There was just one game in town on Monday night, the famous 75 kilometre handicap madison with the leaders ‘giving away’ seven laps to the limit men.
Laps gained and lost count overall so the big teams can’t mess around and for the little teams there’s a chance to make history.
But first, a story; back in 2010 in the closing stages of the race it looked like the US pairing of Daniel Holloway and Colby Pearce had it won.
But then Danny Stam ended the dream with two words spoken to Colby; ‘we win!‘
As minnows they could hardly argue with a barracuda like Danny.
Stam and partner Peter Schep were both Six Day winners, a handicap win meant little to their palmarès but it would have been a great result for the Americans.
Fast forward to Monday evening and as we come into the closing laps our boy Hans Pirius and aforementioned Daniel are leading.
The Austrians, Graf/Müller and our boy Achim with his partner, the quick Suisse, Nico Selenati have closed their deficit on Daniel/Hans who were ‘limit men’ but neither team can shake the men in the stars and stripes jerseys.
Hans is riding like a runaway truck – protocol dictates that staff shouldn’t get emotionally involved with the race but it’s hard not to shout for our big German as he goes deep and closes those gaps.
Daniel is running on fumes but won’t concede…
There’s the gun.
They’ve done it!
I give Hans a cuddle and as I grab Daniel round the shoulder I tell him; ‘this makes up for Stam flicking you!‘
Daniel’s smile is a mile wide.
The post-race chores were no problem after that result.
A disastrous night for Hester/Lampater though – they just couldn’t get those laps back and all hope of second place evaporated.
And for your info, the average speed at half-distance was in excess of 55 kph and ended up way over 54 kph, breaking the existing track record of 54.468 kph.
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Johny Wakelin is ‘In Zaire‘ again for the Derny and Dario G’s ‘Sunchyme‘ is Daniel Holloway’s theme for the balustrade one last time; the crowd is on their feet and the tension is building for the last hour.
But no time for me to enjoy the vibe – it’s time to pack.
We haul the riders drinks, gels, a pee, more cream to you-know-where…
The race official prowls round; ‘one minute!‘
We shove them out, the Conti’s and Vittorias rumble into the flying start.
The cannon blasts, there’s the bongos; ‘Cara Mia‘ why, must we say goodbye? for the last time.
Michael is in imperious form, smooth as a 70’s pursuit star, and Kenny is just so strong.
Marc Hester does nothing rash, he can’t win but he can blow the podium, so no heroics, save it all for those final sprint points.
He’s keeping those pesky Poles on a short leash.
Moreno and Yoeri are the ones having to cover rather than the ones dictating – as Kenny told me; ‘Michael and I are riders who like to dominate.’
In truth, we all knew who was going to win from the day we saw the field announced but it was an exciting and convincing finale.
The full house crowd loved it and feedback on the Eurosport TV coverage is positive.
I make it just 40 weeks ’til Gent…
See you there?